Loud doesn’t really cut it. According to Twitter someone in the crowd clocked Hookworms playing at 124.8 decibels tonight, which Google describes as “tinnitus inducing, ringing in the ears, permanent hearing loss”. It’s an absolute fucking blast.

Hookworms play as part of the Manchester International Festival at the Pavilion Theatre in Albert Square, what they say may be their last show until next year.  Tonight’s performance sees the Leeds outfit play mostly long awaited new material, tracks which will make up the upcoming and latest album, their first since 2014.

Supporting is the slightly more serene Carla dal Forno. Back in February, she played to a modest Soup Kitchen crowd, but, like her fan base, the size of the venues she plays at are growing. The audience are silently engaged as she works through tracks off her album You Know What It’s Like. Singles ‘What You Gonna Do Now’ & ‘You Know What It’s Like’ have the crowd slowly nodding along in the complete darkness of the Pavilion Theatre. It’s the perfect calm before the storm.

Hookworms come on to pulsating electronic rhythms, presumably a track from the upcoming album. The new sound sounds a little less organic than their previous material, but this isn’t such a bad thing. The looping synths still expose the audience to the abrasive psych that fans have got used to, only now it seems tracks are slightly more dancefloor ready. If it’s your first time watching Hookworms tonight, you could be in for quite a shock, they don’t pull any punches.

Last year Hookworms played a special fundraiser at the Hedben Bridge Trades Club, where they covered the whole of LCD Soundsystem’s Sound of Silver from start to finish. As they work their way through more new material, it’s clear they’ve taken some influence from James Murphy’s project, and, to be perfectly honest, it’s an absolute crime if they aren’t in the support slot for the upcoming LCD shows at Store Street.

After three, maybe four new tracks (it’s difficult to tell as the band never take as much as a moment to catch breath), we finally hear the familiar sound of the beeps at the start of ‘The Impasse’, the first track on 2014’s The Hum. As on the record, they move seamlessly into ‘On Leaving’ and finally there’s a chance for the crowd to sing along, or at least try to.

At this point my friend turns to me and asks, “what’s the point in the vocals?”. I assume he wants to hear some lyrics, but no such thing happens at a Hookworms gig. I personally believe MJ’s vocals work perfectly in the mix, although often incoherent screams, when you think of his voice as another distorted layer, it complements the rest of the mind-altering instrumentation perfectly.

After this section, there’s a rare moment of respite from the music and Hookworms tell the crowd, “this is another new one, sorry.” No need for apologies, it seems people here tonight are as keen to hear the new tunes as much as the back catalogue. It’s blindingly obvious why, it sounds great.

Throughout tonight’s performance in the pitch-black Pavilion Theatre, the volume never lowered and the strobe light never stopped. It’s totally disorientating and probably some people’s idea of complete hell, but you know what, I’d watch it till I’m deaf and I’m positive most people in attendance tonight share that feeling.

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James Power

When resisting the urge to put on the new Radiohead album for the one-billionth time, I try to keep my music listening as eclectic as possible.I was the clichéd skinny jeans & Strokes t-shirt clad indie kid in school clad and have never really grown out of that. Since starting university in 2012 I’ve got into lots of electronic, house, techno music and finding it very addicting. Favourites include Jon Hopkins, Todd Terje and Nicolas Jaar. Very recently I’ve been getting into old shoegaze bands like My Bloody Valentine, Ride & The Jesus and Mary Chain. I’ll have probably found something new by next week. Anything Thom Yorke puts his name to is one constant though.I’m a lover of CDs (probably because as a student I can’t quite afford vinyl) and my 250+ strong collection seems to be growing exponentially. If we discussed the pros and cons of physical music compared to streaming and how we consume music today, I could bore you for hours.Soup Kitchen is my spiritual home.I’ve pledged to take a review a month of an artist that I know nothing about, so sometimes I might sound like an idiot.